Three Lutes and a Violin

Having focused for the last eight plus months on my latest novel release, Without the Veil Between, Anne Bronte: A Fine and Subtle Spirit, I have neglected promoting my previous two novel publications, A House Near Luccoli and its Sequel To A Strange Somewhere Fled.

 

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Three lutes huddled against the emptiness of a corner, stepsisters born separately of rosewood, maple, and ebony, sharing an inheritance of long necks, heads back, full bodies with rosettes like intricately set jewels on their breasts. Theirs was harmonious rivalry, recalling a master’s touch and understanding. On the settee a leather case contained a violin resembling a dead man on the red velvet of his coffin, not mourned but celebrated by nymphs dancing through vines on the frieze high around the room.

from A House Near Luccoli, a novel imagining an intimacy with the 17th Century Italian Composer, Alessandro Stradella

Photo by Casee Marie Clow

What better time to return to the main protagonist in A House Near Luccoli, who is a haunting one in To A Strange Somewhere Fled. Having opened on September 1st and running through September 16th, an annual festival in honor of Stradella—Festival Barocco Alessandro Stradella di Viterbo e Nepiis happening in his birth place of Nepi, in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, central Italy. Here is a sample from the festival in 2016:

Alessandro Stradella, 1639—1682
Fascinating, Flawed, Forgiven, and Unforgettable

He was the epitome of the paradox of true genius, in ‘one breath’ making masterpieces and, in another, messes.

By the second decade of the 18th Century Stradella’s compositions were rarely performed, eclipsed by cloak-and-dagger operas and novels that portrayed him more as a libertine than serious composer. Of course, a little truth can spark and fuel lies. Whether acting on a patron’s whim or his own impulse, uncertainty and risk were inevitable for Stradella. It was his nature to embrace them. My intention was foremost, through specifics and speculation, to present Stradella as an enticingly fascinating if flawed human being and, without reservation, a gifted composer.

I focused on Stradella’s last year in Genoa (1681-1682), structuring my narrative with a succession of actual events, mainly musical, and initiating the fictional Donatella’s association with him through his need for a new residence and copyist.

Read my entire guest post at The Seventeenth Century Lady about Alessandro Stradella and the novels that were born out of my by-chance (or not) first encounter with him here …


Synopsis of A House Near Luccoli

It is over three years since the charismatic composer, violinist and singer Alessandro Stradella sought refuge in the palaces and twisted alleys of Genoa, royally welcomed despite the alleged scandals and even crimes that forced him to flee from Rome, Venice and Turin.

By 1681 Stradella’s professional and personal life have begun to unravel again, losing him a prime position at Genoa’s la Teatro Falcone and residence on the city’s street of palaces, la Strada Nuova. Stradella is offered a respectable if slightly shabby apartment in a house near la via Luccoli and yet another chance to redeem his character and career. He moves in with a flourish met with curiosity and consternation by the caretakers who are also tenants, three women, including Donatella, who, like the city she lives in, hides her longings, propriety the rule not cure for what ails her.

Even before I had completed A House Near Luccoli, I sensed I might carry Stradella’s inimitable spirit and music forward into a sequel. That plan was encouraged by Henry Purcell’s reported reaction to Stradella’s untimely death.

To A Strange Somewhere Fled also drew from my very personal experience of living in the Oxfordshire village of Wroxton and Wroxton Abbey, an away-from-London refuge for Francis North and his brother Roger North, both amateur musicians and important figures in the court of Charles II.
Read more about To A Strange Somewhere Fled 

A House Near Luccoli (Book Trailer)

 

A House Near Luccoli and To A Strange Somewhere Fled

are available in Paperback, for Kindle devices and app, and as Audio Books

at amazon.com

 

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you

Modest or Unmannerly, Which Instrument Shall She Play? Guest Post

Thank you to Alison Stuart and all at Hoydens and Firebrands – “Roaring Ladies Who Write About The Seventeenth Century” – for hosting me on their fascinating blog!

Hoyden is a boisterous girl.

Firebrand is a person who is passionate about a particular cause, typically inciting change and taking radical action.

Modest or Unmannerly, Which Instrument Shall She Play? by DM Denton

Music was such an integral part of 17th century life and Hoydens and Firebrands are delighted to welcome DM Denton with a fascinating post on women and music in the seventeenth century. Diane is the author of two books set in the 17th century in which the central protagonists are musicians.  

Woman playing viol par traverso_pe_pe

In the 17th century a refined young woman might want and even be encouraged to cultivate her musical ability and prove some accomplishment through singing and accompanying herself instrumentally—as recreation not occupation, of course. Considering her need to impress a suitor, show her figure off in the best possible way, express the sweetest tones of her personality and gentle capability of her character, which instrument should she play?

I graciously encourage you to read on ….

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back tobardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Three Lutes and a Violin

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Three lutes huddled against the emptiness of a corner, stepsisters born separately of rosewood, maple, and ebony, sharing an inheritance of long necks, heads back, full bodies with rosettes like intricately set jewels on their breasts. Theirs was harmonious rivalry, recalling a master’s touch and understanding. On the settee a leather case contained a violin resembling a dead man on the red velvet of his coffin, not mourned but celebrated by nymphs dancing through vines on the frieze high around the room.

from A House Near Luccoli©, a novel imagining an intimacy with the 17th Century Italian Composer, Alessandro Stradella

Release Date: September 1, 2012
All Things That Matter Press
Contact me for availability







©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

More Musing Music

...suddenly unable to hold off the invasion of a single violin.

    Tis a strange kind of igno’rance this in you!
That you your victories should not spy,
Victories gotten by your eye.
That your bright beams, as those of comets do,
Should kill, and know not how, nor who.

from ‘The Innocent Ill’
 a poem by Abraham Crowley (1618-1667),
put to music by Pietro Reggio (1632-1685).

     His fingers found their tension and touch, rolling an introduction into a breathless pulse, smeared arpeggios giving pause as a singer came into the light and performance, carrying a lute and lovely tune. The lyrics were in English though his intonation was not, his voice giving him beauty he never had and youthfulness that denied his graying face. His eyes were downcast, his mouth wet and a little whiskered, his wandering back and forth courting romantic notions he seemed too reserved to pursue.
     Music came down from the gallery too, in the long shimmering phrases of viols, treble and bass, sublime and subdued, individual but uncompetitive in contrast and counterpoint, the pulse of their playing like inhaling and exhaling. Certainly Donatella breathed easier, unfolding her hands and closing her eyes, almost unconscious of where she was though she did realize her mother softly humming a harmony all her own.
     The viols were slowly persuasive, the audience surrendering to their calm and melancholy, even Albrici joining the passive resistance to more sound than expression. It seemed their victory was imminent, that they had conquered the field and could continue unguarded, but without more power were suddenly unable to hold off the invasion of a single violin.
     It irrevocably broke the consort, twisting and turning and working itself into a manic mastery, its bow slashing so every listening heart bled. Sudden remorse was just part of the act but affecting all the same, nothing but pretension wrong with its performance, not a sound that wasn’t beautiful despite its arrogance, such difficulty created and brilliantly overcome.

 Copyright © 2011 by DM Denton
All Rights Reserved

Writing note: The excerpt above is from my work-in-progress novel, ‘She Shall Have Music”, sequel to the completed (not yet published) ‘A House Near Luccoli’©.

Please check out my previous Musing Music post.

 

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.